THE BIBLE TIME FACTOR IN THE CENTRAL THEME (Lesson 2)
The time factor in God’s plan has proved to be a very fascinating subject. The object of this lesson is to show the control God exerts in the development of history. In order for the Central Theme to have validity, it is important to understand the time factor that God has put in place to accomplish His purpose. To fill the earth with His glory is something that is yet to take place, but at a very specific time. “Prophecy” as a revealing of the events of history before they happen, is proof that the events of the Bible are not random activities, but are in fact in accord with the Time Line that God has established. Let’s keep it simple and look at a few verses that outline God’s Timeline!
Acts 17:26 This reference emphasizes God’s foreknowledge (knowledge in advance) and control over the affairs of individuals and nations. The “Times before appointed” is the key phrase. He established the framework in the beginning and since then it is unfolding according not to chance, but to his timeline.
Acts 17:30,31 Everything works according to His timetable. The Judgment Day as referred to in this passage is a specific day, as is all of his plan of salvation. The proof of His timeline is the Lord Jesus Christ, a specific man by whom he will judge the world. To assure mankind as to the activity of God in this matter, we are told that God proved he was the right man by raising him from the dead. The time chart attached will help show the full scope of God’s plan.
Please Print the attached chart.
Explanation of the teaching chart. (Please review all the information on the chart)
The chart relates time to Bible history and doctrine. It is clearly demonstrated in the Scripture that God predetermined that certain events would take place at appointed times. The Creator has also revealed that His plan with the earth and mankind moves by progressive steps toward the fulfillment of His will. The Bible use of the terms “the last days,” “the latter days,” “time of the end,” indicates a prophetical period when the present political and religious systems will be terminated. The inability of mankind to govern themselves is demonstrated by history and confirmed by the continuing deterioration in world affairs. The divine remedy according to the Bible, is the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth. This is the basic theme of the chart.
The chart is divided into seven sections, each section representing a one thousand year period. This division is based on the statement by the writer to the Hebrews in the fourth Chapter “And God did rest the seventh day from all His works.” (v4) This has reference to the Genesis account of creation. Following this principle, the chart represents six working days of history followed by a God-sanctified day of rest. The premise for dividing the chart into one thousand year periods is found in Revelation Chapter 20:4. This period which we refer to as the Millennium, represents the seventh day of rest as defined in Hebrews 4. The signs of our times in relation to this millennial age support this premise on a prophetical and chronological basis.
The dates generally used in connection with the King James version are taken from Ussher’s Chronology. Though Ussher’s dates are used on the chart, it is recognized that other theories exist among Bible Chronologists, regarding historical dates. Therefore it cannot be claimed that the ancient dates on the chart are completely accurate. We can assume, however, that they are approximate and support the concept outlined above.
Use this tool as you read through your Bible. It will provide good context to the events of the Bible and show that our hope in the coming of Jesus is not based upon random expectation, but according to the plan of God. This next verse tells us the birth of Jesus was according to God’s time and plan.
Many were expecting the coming of the Promised seed (child) because it had been foretold in the Old Testament scriptures. Daniel had given a time period (Daniel 9:21-27) of 70 weeks (or 490 years)! Based on this, the wise men from the east who came looking for him, followed the star and came to the birthplace of Jesus. Simeon was told he would not die till he had seen the Messiah; Luke 2:26;
Galatians 4:4 The significance of the word “fullness” in relation to time is important in this verse. “The fullness of time” means: when the time was right! It was in fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming Messiah. You will note on the time chart the “promises” at the bottom. Please take a minute to look at these to see how the “fullness of time” is an accurate statement.
Luke 21:24 One of the facts of history, is that after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, in AD 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the dispersion of the Jews away from Palestine took place and lasted till 1967. The point of emphasis in this verse is the word “until.” Jerusalem was to come under Gentile domination until the predetermined times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Refer to chart (Times of the Gentiles).
Hebrews 4:3-11 The emphasis in these verses as noted above is to turn our thoughts to the creation of Genesis chapter 1 as a lesson of what is to unfold throughout history leading to the “Rest” promised by God.
v.3 The works were finished from the foundation of the world; i.e., the pattern of chronology was established at creation.
v.4 The seventh day is the equivalent of the millennial period demonstrated on the chart.
vv.5-8 These verses eliminate the conquest and occupation of Canaan under Joshua as being “the rest” spoken of by God in Genesis chapter 2. (Note: ‘Jesus’ referred to in v4 is Joshua of the Old Testament.
vv.9-11 The hope embraced in these verses is future and comprises a definite time period.
What is the duration of this prophetical day? Our next reference answers this question.
Revelation 20:4 Those who endured to the end “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” This is clearly the “rest” to which the writer to the Hebrews referred. To be clear, this is the beginning of the “Kingdom of God on Earth”. The Millennium (1000 years) after the return of Jesus to the Earth is the period mentioned in the next passage.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28 The work that Jesus will accomplish during the millennium will bring about the completion of the plan of redemption. Notice what happens according to this passage. His role is to bring the nations into subjection to the purpose of God. Then at the end of the period, he will pass the Kingdom to God who will then be all in all.
Please, use the chart, to look over and study during your reading of the scriptures. This has been very helpful in relating Biblical events to history. This is a quick and interesting way to study God’s plan as it develops throughout the Bible narrative.